Have you ever looked at a cat’s feather toy and thought “man, I wish that was for a dog?” Well, I have great news for you — somebody else thought that too, and it turned out to be a great idea.
They’re called flirt poles, and they are useful and fun training tools that double as a toy for dogs with high energy, high arousal levels, or insatiable prey drives, who need more than one walk a day to chill them out!
What is a Flirt Pole?
A flirt pole is a magic wand. A life-saver. The perfect toy for many pups.
People (and dogs) who discover the flirt pole are shocked by the efficiency with which it exercises dogs, physically and mentally.
Flirt poles for dogs, not unlike cat feather teasers, are comprised of a handle, a pole, a cord, and a toy or lure that resembles a prey animal.
The reason so many dogs love flirt poles is because the movement of the toy triggers their prey drive and compels them to chase and catch the toy.
Flirt poles may work with any breed, but they are especially awesome interactive dog toys and exercise tools for:
- pit bulls
- & other breeds with naturally strong prey drives
How to Use a Flirt Pole
Impulse control is the name of the game when it comes to using flirt poles.
Being able to work on your dog’s response to commands while in a high arousal state — but in a controlled environment — is incredibly helpful!
Flirt Pole Rules
It’s important to have a set of rules for your pooch when using the flirt pole dog toy.
Training a dog to use impulse control during flirt pole sessions can take patience; excited dogs have a hard time listening, which is why this kind of exercise is so important!
Flirt pole dog training is relatively simple and involves a few basic rules:
- The toy doesn’t start moving until your dog is successfully sitting and waiting. Even if he can only stay still for five seconds in the beginning, it’s still a good start. This teaches your dog that the fun doesn’t begin until he’s waiting patiently and politely.
- Once your dog catches the toy, the game can’t start again until he drops it. A lot of dogs have a hard time handing the toy back over after catching it, so your dog has to voluntarily release the toy and drop it (treats can be involved) for the game to resume.
- Keep the lure close to the ground. When the toy is flying through the air dogs may jump too high, land poorly, and harm themselves. The lure is also less interesting if it isn’t skittering through the grass like prey! Swing the cord around no more than a foot above ground level.
- Let your dog catch the lure every now and again — dogs gain satisfaction from catching their “prey” and will lose interest if it’s too difficult to catch the lure. Allow your pup to play out his instincts and kill-shake that dastardly squirrel plush.
Dogs learn more quickly when play is involved, and flirt pole sessions can increase impulse control by leaps and bounds. Flirt pole training is also a great way to konk your dog out for the rest of the afternoon to get a bit of peace and quiet.
Flirt Pole vs Spring Pole
One of the major reasons flirt poles have gained popularity is their ease of use — owners can exhaust their dogs while barely breaking a sweat themselves. This is especially helpful for breeds that need multiple hours of exercise and training a day to be satisfied.
Owners of pit bulls and other breeds with high prey drives are especially fond of the flirt pole, but those new to the scene sometimes confuse flirt poles with a similar tool — the spring pole.
Spring poles are flexible rods staked into the ground with a rope attached that allows dogs to play tug of war to their hearts’ content.
These tools require little to no human interaction; the stake provides resistance and often spins so dogs can run in circles while tugging. Muscle building is another popular reason for spring pole use.
A major difference between the two tools is human involvement. If your dog isn’t a self-led player — meaning if he wants to play, he expects you to be involved — then a spring pole may sit untouched. Flirt poles are better for the pup who wants their owner involved in play.
The Five Best Flirt Poles for Dogs
Handy dog owners can set out to follow DIY flirt pole tutorials online, but those less inclined to make a homemade flirt pole can purchase one of these bad boys on the web.
1. Outward Hound Tail Teaser
About: The Outward Hound Tail Teaser is a solid dog exercise toy for a decent price that mimics the movement of prey to keep dogs engaged and entertained.
The teaser on the end even looks like a little mousey creature, just waiting to be adorably attacked.
- DURABLE DOG TRAINING & PLAY WAND: The Tail Teaser dog wand is made of durable nylon cord that's also...
- INDOOR & OUTDOOR FUN: The Tail Teaser is a compact toy that you can bring with you to the park or...
- PLUSH TOYS SQUEAK & RATTLE: This durable nylon dog lure wand comes with two faux fur plush toys that...
- PAIRS WITH ZIPZOOM AGILITY KITS: The Tail Teaser teasing pole is a perfect companion to the agility...
Features: Most of the toy is made of nylon rope, which is relatively durable and holds up well against regular tuggers. The lure has a squeaker and a rattle for double the noisy fun.
The toy also comes with a replacement teaser when the original eventually succumbs to a toothy demise.
Options: There are no customizable options for this toy.
This dog exercise toy weighs in at less than a pound and is just over three feet long, making it quick and prey-like. Perfect for small to medium dogs with high energy or prey drives.
In addition to lacking in custom options, many users found that the toy doesn’t always stand up to bigger and stronger dogs. Pit bulls and other super-tuggers will probably enjoy another flirt pole that can put up a good fight!
2. Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole
About: After a bad experience with a poorly-made flirt pole dog toy, the creator of the Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole decided to make a flirt pole for pit bulls that was strong, durable, and above-all, safe.
- New and improved V2 developed using customer feedback from extremely popular original Flirt Pole
- Comes with durable braided Fleece Lure pre-attached
- Regular size flirt pole has a 36” pole section and 52” cord
- Can be used with dogs of any size
Features: The handle has a soft, non-slip grip. Instead of rope, the cord is bungee-style and is intended to prevent “whiplash” from the pole.
The lure attachment is simple and doesn’t involve any fasteners or parts that could harm your pooch’s mouth; this makes it perfect for the dog who somehow always hurts himself.
Options: The braided lure comes in two color combinations, aqua and blue or orange and yellow.
Small and large dogs and humans alike can enjoy the Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole in one of its two sizes, Jr. (24-inch pole, 42-inch cord) and Regular (36-inch pole, 52-inch cord). You can even add a squeaker to the toy for extra fun!
Those that rely on positive reviews to determine the quality of a product can let out a sigh of relief — the Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole has enjoyed remarkable owner reviews. Dogs and humans love this tool!
It’s hard to find complaints about the Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole, but a number of purchasers reported that the bungee cord isn’t the safest option — some said that because of the elastic they or their dog were injured by the pole, but this seems relatively rare.
3. Pet Qwerks FlipStick
About: The Pet Qwerks FlipStick is a basic low-cost flirt pole with a fabric lure, a rope, and a sturdy handle.
- All dogs love to chase and tug. It’s in their DNA. Burn off your pup's excess energy faster with...
- Working with the same principles as the cat teasers the Flip stick is built for hard play and tough...
- The objective is to tease your dog & induce him/her to chase the fabric bait. Your dog’s job is to...
- As your dog becomes more proficient at catching the bait you can increase the challenge. By pulling...
Features: Simply put, this is a flirt pole. There isn’t anything particularly spectacular about it, but it’s got all the basic flirt pole bits and bobs, and should help to burn off some of your dog’s excess energy.
Options: There are no customizable options for this toy.
This straightforward toy is perfect for the dog who isn’t bouncing-off-the-walls crazy, but likes a nice game of chase and catch.
Most owners seemed to find that the FlipStick worked well, although a few owners complained that the materials didn’t last very long.
4. POPETPOP Expandable Flirt Pole
About: In need of a flirt pole on-the-go? Who isn’t? POPETPOP has the solution for you: a collapsible flirt pole to take with you wherever you and your dog explore.
- 【SIZE】- Length of holder:10.2", stretch to 35.4", length of rope:39.4". An interactive toy that...
- 【2 ROPE CHEW TOYS】- Providing two replaceable chew toys which can be used as normal rope toys....
- 【GREAT VALUE】- Tough rope is a wonderful choice especially for the aggressive chewers. Perfect...
- 【HIGH QUALITY】- The holder is long and very sturdy that can bear enough dogs to pull and chase....
Features: The expandable aluminum pole uses a twist-to-lock mechanism to prevent the toy from collapsing during play and features a braided rope lure.
This flirt pole is also made with relatively heavy-duty components, making it a good choice for big-and-strong breeds, as well as tiny terriers and other small dogs with insane prey drives.
Options: There are no customizable options for this toy.
This flirt pole comes with a wrist strap! This makes it ideal for users with limited mobility, hand tremors, or muscle weakness. And, as mentioned before, it is a pretty sturdy tool.
Despite being a pretty durable flirt pole exercise toy, there are a couple of reports of the pole breaking at the locking points during play.
5. Jalousie Dog Flirt Pole Set
About: Another collapsible option for the well-traveled flirt polers out there is the Jalousie Dog Flirt Pole Set. Get the biggest bang for your buck with this pack including a flirt pole, two ropes, and three plush lures.
- Include one teaser flirt pole, three squeaky toys, and one replacement rope. The rope has been...
- Ideal tool to teach dog drop-it, leave-it, chase, and tug.
- Three squeaky toys that can be used as normal squeaky toys.
- A durable liner is added to the toy for longer play time and durability. We also reinforce all seams...
Features: With a recently updated, thicker rope, Jalousie promises a standard mid-grade flirt pole with squeaky lures to get pups up and playing.
These lures are actually filled with crinkly paper for additional doggo appeal. You can even use the squeaky lures separately (just be sure to exercise caution if you have a power-chewing pupper).
Options: Though the pole itself doesn’t have customizable options, there are two teaser refill packs featuring woodland critters and other cute designs.
This collapsible design is simple and the lures are small, making it easy to bring along to the park or play with on walks.
A few users reported in the reviews that this pole broke relatively quickly in comparison to the other tools on this list, possibly because the handle is made from plastic.
Flirt Pole DIY: Make Your Own!
The above options are perfectly fine if you’re not interested in taking a trip to the hardware store. But for those that are up for it, making your own DIY flirt pole is super easy and costs just a few bucks!
How to Make a Flirt Pole
- Visit Home Depot, Lowes, or another hardware store and purchase a pre-cut piece of PVC pipe. I chose the smallest diameter (1/2″) but you can go a little bigger if you prefer. The length will depend on the size of your dog (approx 3-4 ft). You may be able to find pre-cut pieces this size, but most likely you will need to take the piece of PVC to the cutting station and cut it to your desired length.
- Purchase rope or paracord, and cut to approximately double the length of your pipe.
- Feed the rope through the PVC tube, tying a knot at the end so that the rope can’t run back through.
- Take a trip to the dollar store and grab a few cheap dog squeaky toys
- Tie the squeaky toy to the other end of the rope
- Get out there and have fun!
The total cost to make this is under $5, so it’s a pretty incredible DIY dog toy, offering a lot of dog exercise bang for your buck!
TheDarlingDog has a nice little video below showing how she went through the process to build a homemade flirt pole.
We love flirt poles, yes we do; we love flirt poles, how ‘bout you?
Flirt pole enthusiasts, tell us why you use the tool and what you love about it. Did we leave out your favorite flirt pole recommendation? Let us know in the comments!